Translation pitch at ITD 2018

Do you have a book that you’ve always wanted to bring to an Anglophone readership? Well, here’s your chance. At this year’s International Translation Day, you get the chance to pitch to editors. Ailah Ahmed (Virago, Little, Brown), Federico Andornino (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and Isabel Wall (Viking, Penguin Random House) will discuss three translation pitches chosen from your submissions.

When is the event taking place?

International Translation Day 2018 will take place at the Free Word Centre on 28 September from 6-9pm. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

How can I take part?

It’s an easy, three-step process:
1) Read the information on this page carefully.
2) Fill out our online form and tell us all about the book you love. Please keep it brief!
3) If your pitch is chosen, we will let you know in advance of the event. You will be asked to discuss your pitch live on stage with the editors.

What do I need to know about pitching?

Keep it brief and concise. Read the editor profiles below and think about which editor you want to pitch to.

Can I submit a pitch if I’m not attending ITD?

We can only accept pitches from attendees. You can book your ticket HERE.

Submit your translation pitch by filling in this form. By submitting the form, you consent to the form being shared with the editors judging the translation pitch.

The deadline for submitting your pitch is 21 September 2018, 12AM.




Ailah Ahmed is Senior Commissioning Editor at Little, Brown UK, Abacus Books, Virago Books. Ailah has published writers such as Ruth Ozeki and CN Lester, author of Trans Like Me. She is working with Chigozie Obioma (whose debut,   The Fishermen, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize), as well as June Eric-Udorie, on an anthology of essays about intersectional feminism. Ailah is also publishing The Incendiaries   by   R O  Kwon and Greenlandic writer Niviaq Korneliussen’s Crimson (translated by Anna Halager).   She is looking to publish more voices in translation from outside Europe.


I joined Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 2017 as fiction commissioning editor, acquiring literary fiction with an edge, sharp and original suspense and crossover, and fiction in translation.

Before that I worked at Two Roads, an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton. Two Roads was tiny but I managed to publish two projects in translation: Riad Sattouf’s The Arab of the Future graphic memoir trilogy (translated by Sam Taylor, and a Guardian, Observer and New York Times book of the year), and Elena Varvello’s Can You Hear Me? (translated by Alex Valente, and a Waterstones Book of the Month).

I am interested in expanding our crime in translation list, but we also want to publish brilliant writers who know how to craft a beautiful sentence but also have a strong sense of plot. That’s what I am really keen to discover: some real literary talent with a gift for storytelling.

My tastes are varied but I tend to lean toward the accessible literary end of the spectrum: those books that feel right at home both on a prize shortlist and as part of a book club promotion; what I love is a novel which keeps the pages turning but also has something important to say. I personally read Italian and French, but we have a range of readers who can do reports for us for the right project. Recent titles I have acquired include the new novel by Bernhard Schlink, Olga, the latest Guillaume Musso, and a series of literary thrillers from Italy by Ilaria Tuti, the first of which – Flowers Over the Inferno – is the bestselling debut of the year in Italy so far.

Other titles I have considered seriously over the past couple of years include L’Arminuta by Donatella di Pietrantonio, The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti, Miden by Veronica Raimo.


At Viking I’m mainly looking for literary fiction, and examples of translated novels I have read and loved are:

  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck
  • Minna Needs Rehearsal Space/Karate Chop by Dorthe Nors
  • This Should be Written in the Present Tense by Helle Helle
  • Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
  • A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler
  • Petronille by Amelie Nothomb
  • All the Elena Ferrante novels

I read fluent French and Italian but I am also very interested in Scandinavian and Japanese fiction. I’m also looking for literary non-fiction in translation – memoirs like The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis, books about art and art history, and histories or essays with a feminist slant.

At Viking I launched the Penguin European Writers series: short 20th century classics by authors of different European nationalities, with introductions by well-known contemporary writers. This year I have, or am about to, publish three titles in this series: Death in Spring by Merce Rodoreda (intro by Colm Toibin), The Beautiful Summer by Cesare Pavese (intro by Elizabeth Strout) and The Lady and the Little Fox Fur by Violette Leduc (intro by Deborah Levy). In September I am also hugely excited to be publishing In Paris: 20 Women on Life in the City of Light by Jeanne Damas and Lauren Bastide, which profiles twenty very different Parisian women, taking us into their homes, their clothes, their careers, and most importantly, what being Parisian means to them, all accompanied by gorgeous full-colour photographs and lists on the best places to go and things to do in Paris.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *